The St. James boys basketball team (13-7, 1-1 Four Rivers) host Pacific for Courtwarming on Friday, Feb. 3. The Tigers were a bit out of whack after a tough overtime loss to Licking earlier in the week and came out on the losing end against Pacific 60-42.
St. James managed to stick with a very talented Pacific team early on, keeping things within five points for a majority of the quarter, but couldn't get into a rhythm on the offensive end. Pacific did a great job of getting hands in the St. James passing lanes, which led to a lot of easy points in transition in the first. As a result, the Indians were able to get out to an early 17-11 lead.
The Tigers cut the deficit to three points before Pacific was able to score in the second period, but the Indians quickly built their lead back out. Pacific worked the ball inside-out on the offensive end, while St. James struggled to find open looks. That offensive success allowed Pacific to stretch their lead out to 22-14 by the five minute mark, but St. James kept fighting to stay alive. After another Pacific basket, Trey Marshall hit a three to cut the deficit to six points, but Pacific responded right back with another basket. A St. James turnover led to yet another basket by Pacific soon after, giving the Indians a 26-19 lead. Pacific led by as many as 10 in the second quarter, but St. James managed to bring the score to 30-22 at the half.
Things started to go even further downhill for St. James in the third. After Pacific hit a three to open the half, Kam Barber responded with a three of his own. Unfortunately the three from the Courtwarming King couldn't spark the St. James offense for the remainder of the quarter. Pacific managed to stretch their lead out to 50-30 by the end of the third thanks to hot shooting from Jacob Kleake, who sank two threes and scored 10 points in the quarter.
The game slowed down dramatically in the fourth, as both teams worked longer possessions. St. James managed 12 points int he quarter, but it wasn't enough to close the gap in a 60-42 loss.
"We got beat up, they just manhandled us," said head coach Ben Smith. "They were better defensively, we didn't really come ready to play and we couldn't get it going."
The third quarter is what really buried St. James in coach Smith's eyes.
"If could've just kinda kept it to that six to eight (point hole), we would've had a chance in the the fourth, but we just didn't come out very good in the third quarter," said coach Smith. "They hit that three right off the bat and I think we answered, but we never really flowed after that."
Courtwarming games can always be hard to lock in on mentally, so coach Smith's biggest key to turning things around down the home stretch is getting back on track mentally.
"(We need to) Up our focus, up our intensity level," said Smith. "I didn't think we were very intense tonight compared to where we've been in the last two or three weeks. I just don't think we had that edge tonight. You can't really make an excuse for it, because we were here to play the game and you expect to show up and do what we're supposed to do, but we just didn't for whatever reason do that tonight. We'll bounce back from it. We'll come back and play harder and we'll be alright."
The Tigers will look to turn bounce back with a trip to Owensville on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Marshall - 10, Terrill - 8, Barber - 7, Uffmann - 6, Harlan - 5, Davis - 3, Robinson - 2, Keeney - 1